I am truly happy for you. You have a functional pancreas, and every second of every day it is working to make sure you feel pretty good. I love to see you lined up outside ice-cream stores, running for miles without a bag of juice, granola bars, or glucose tabs / gel, and swimming for hours. I like being behind you in the airport security check line, watching you speed through without a bag search and questions about why any one person could ever use 5 syringes. I like watching you in restaurants as you order the exact thing that you most want to eat, and eat it all, in one blissful sitting. I wish these simple joys on everyone. However, since some of us are diabetic, I respectfully request from the rest of you these small considerations in return:
1. Please don’t tell me how to cure my diabetes. I don’t offer you cures for any of your various problems and ailments. I don’t even tell you what I think your problems are. Please don’t tell me about your type 2 aunt who lost 100 pounds and healed herself: I’m 5’7″ and 150 pounds; I’m not really skinny, but I don’t have 100 pounds to loose. Please don’t tell me that I’m diabetic because I ate too much sugar, or didn’t eat enough sugar, or was fed a poor diet by my parents. Please don’t tell me I couldn’t possibly have type 1 diabetes, as that is juvenile diabetes and I’m 27, which is no longer a juvenile. And most of all, please don’t confuse type 1 diabetes with type 2 diabetes. It’s unfair to all types of diabetics.
2. If I’m eating a cookie, don’t gasp. It’s not the end of the world. And if I am eating a cookie, or drinking a soda, or putting any other pure, white, refined sugar into my body, trust me, I need it. It’s not some sort of adolescent suicide attempt. I promise.
3. If you see the tube running from under my shirt to the pocket of my jeans, and are curious about it, ask me. I will happily tell you everything you ever wanted to know about type 1 diabetes, insulin pumps in general, and my insulin pump specifically. What I’d really rather you didn’t do is follow me around a department store staring at the tube. Another thing that isn’t my favorite is when we’re on the subway and you’re sitting down while I stand, and since you’re at eye level to my tube, you pull your girlfriend’s sleeve and point at the tube, and when she doesn’t immediately understand what you’re pointing at, you actually tap it. Man, that’s just weird. Come on.
4. I understand that I have a chronic illness, and will have it either forever or until there is a cure, and I understand exactly what that means. What it DOESN’T mean is that I’m made of glass, am breakable, need be handled with extreme gentleness, or that I might burst in to tears at any moment. I’m not, I’m not, I don’t, and I won’t. If and when I need help, I will ask you for it.
5. If I’m at work and need to check by BG, please let me. Really. Don’t make me keep my meter in the break room, two hundred yards and a flight of stairs from where I actually work. I don’t check in an obvious way, and I don’t wave the little speck of blood on my finger around for all the faint of heart to see. I can even go to the restroom to test. But just let me have my meter somewhere decently nearby. I promise, it will make me so much happier.
6. If you know a little bit about diabetes, and you see the score on the meter when I check my BG, please don’t look shocked if it’s a bad reading. Please don’t assume that whatever score I got is out of carelessness, or foolish behavior. And, really, please don’t tell me that I need a snack right away or that my bloodsugar is too high and I’m in peril. Believe me, I already know.
Okay, Non-Diabetics, I think that’s all the requests I have for now. If you have any requests for the diabetic community, I would be happy to hear them! And if any of you diabetics have something to add to this letter, please do.
Thank you for your time and attention,
In Search Of Balance